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OPINION: Possible cure far above cost reach so pray

by Robert Box Columnist | May 4, 2022 at 5:25 a.m.

The other day, I decided to go out and clean our automobile. It was dirty and the inside looked like too many children had played in it. However, when I got to the car, I had a problem. Uh, just why was I out looking at the car? Did I need to clean the windows, check the oil, or do something else? I was having one of those "Bella Vista Moments." Now, I'm fully aware that all of the younger folks reading about this situation will not understand what was going on, but I also am sure that all of my older readers will readily identify with the problem (and I just made up this story for emphasis).

Most of us fully expect to experience the failing of our bodies as we grow older. Our muscles are no longer as strong, and our balance is a little shaky. Our minds keep on telling us that we are okay and to just get along with it, but that is deceptive. We can't run as fast, dodge danger as quickly, and can't avoid noticing that when we jump down from a step we no longer land softly; we just kind of land with a thump. We're getting older. It may feel comfortable, but it also has some limitations.

Despite the normal reactions to growing older (did I mention that growing older is far better than the alternative?), almost all of us suffer from the fear of encountering some kind of dementia. It's one thing to be weak physically, but quite another to begin losing one's ability to remember. Unfortunately for individuals experiencing this, he or she too often is the last person to recognize what is happening, and tends to blame others for the confusion involved.

I well remember when my mother-in-law began losing her memory. At first, it was just the little things like forgetting how to start her car, operating the oven in her kitchen, or maybe getting lost on the highway and not remembering the best way home. From there, it progressed to more serious situations.

After a lot of prayer and serious communication, we finally decided to talk with my mother-in-law about her driving and to suggest that she not renew her driver's license. It was time for the renewal of her license, and she had been bugging us about what to do about it. Cautiously, we sat down with her, carefully explained the situation and the alternatives, and how much we cared for her. With her gracious disposition, my mother-in-law agreed with everything we said, especially about her not renewing her driver's license. When we left her and went into another room, we signed a sign of relief and thanked God. However, before we could end our prayer of thanks, my mother-in-law called to us from the other room saying, "Bob, I've just received a letter that my driver license is up for renewal. What should we do about it?" That's when we knew we really had a problem.

It took my mother-in-law's two other children longer to finally realize what was happening, and it was very emotional when they also recognized her dementia. We finally discovered that her dementia was called "vascular dementia," which is caused when one's heart does not pump an appropriate amount of blood to the brain, thereby causing damage to one's memory.

As you know, the other major cause of dementia is Alzheimer's. Medical personnel have worked hard for decades trying to discover the cause of Alzheimer's and to provide some kind of cure, but it has been difficult. Recently, Aduhelm has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Aduhelm is an amyloid beta-directed monoclonal antibody that targets aggregated forms of amyloid beta found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's to reduce its buildup. It's the first FDA approved therapy to address the underlying biology of Alzheimer's disease. However, while Aduhelm appears to be promising, Medicare is limiting the costs involved to only those enrolled in approved clinical trials. It costs around $28,200 a year. Also, the possible side effects may be significant.

Dementia affects far too many people in our country, and we need to be praying for any and all efforts to both prevent it and to cure its effects in our brains, not to put up road blocks to its use.

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Robert Box has been a law enforcement chaplain for 29 years. He is a master-level chaplain with the International Conference of Police Chaplains and is an endorsed chaplain with the American Baptist Churches USA. He also currently serves as a deputy sheriff chaplain for the Benton County Sheriff's Office. Opinions expressed in the article are the opinions of the author and not the agencies he serves.

Print Headline: Possible cure far above cost reach so pray

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